Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Want to avoid paying extra fees when flying?

Have you had a chance to go to the airport lately?
If your planning on air travel being part of your travel plans, you may be in for a surprise, especially if you pack like my Debbie does.
The airlines have found a new revenue stream, charging extra for baggage, and it can climb fairly quickly.  You’ll be paying for any excess weight or extra bags you take along this time.
Depending on which airline you choose, your going to need to budget extra money, here are a couple of examples…
Alaska Airlines - $15 for the first bag and $25 for the second.
Delta – First one is free, second is $50.
Northwest - First one is free, second is $50.
US Airways – Better plan ahead, if you pay for it in advance its $15 but if you wait until your vacation, add another $5.
Think you can just carry on that extra bag like we used to? Forget about it… Now the TSA is helping the airlines by limiting the number of carry on’s allowed.
So what to do? Here are a couple of common sense things.
  •       Do you really need to bring 17 different outfits?  Once we brought 4 suitcases to go on a beach vacation, all we wore was our bathing suits and tank tops…
  •       Wear a sport coat / jacket on the plane to save room & weight in your bags.
  •       Cut back on the toiletries.  You can get travel size lotions and potions now, or just transfer your favorites into smaller bottles.  Don’t forget to put everything into a zip lock bag.
  •       Put your luggage on a scale at home, most airlines draw the line at 50 pounds per bag. You don’t want to have to go thru stuff at the counter then try to figure out where to put all that stuff to get under the limit.
  •       Take advantage of frequent flyer programs, some airlines will wave fees for their cardholders, Ask about these discounts. Also if your active military, they are now waiving fees since they got bad press for changing military returning from overseas.
  •       Sometimes airlines run specials that waive extra fees, remember that if you don’t ask, you won’t get it.
  •       You can use the hotels laundry services instead of bringing more clothing. Many hotels now even have washers and dryers available if you want to save money
  •       Check with your travel agent, hotels are hurting for business and many will reimburse for baggage fees, again you have to ask to receive.
  •        If you must have to have something heavy, try mailing it to your destination.  While you may have to pay a little more, you can count on your stuff being there when you get there (have you ever had to stand in line when you bag didn’t show up?).

There are still some airlines that don’t charge for bags, like JetBlue and Southwest.  I know that for us we'll try to book our flights on these if we have to fly, personally I'd rather drive. (If you haven't read our posting on Naked body scanners, you'll want to read that one before you fly)
Hope these tips help, enjoy your travel.
All the best,
Lou & Debbie

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